June 19, 2012

The David Maraniss bio of Obama is finally available.

After all the talk, you can now buy it: here. I just did. Finally, I can pull things out of it myself.

Meanwhile, here's another one of the advance stories: "9 Tall Tales From Barack Obama's Memoir." That's from BuzzFeed. It's easy to read and has pictures. Example of BuzzFeed's idea of a "tall tale":
5. Obama wrote that he broke up with his New York girlfriend in part because she was white. But his next girlfriend, an anthropologist in Chicago, was also white.
Is that a tall tale? You break up with someone who has a characteristic that troubles you, and then you find yourself drawn to someone else with the same characteristic. Isn't that a perfectly banal pattern for sexual relationships — e.g., the woman who leaves an abusive relationship and then gets into another abusive relationship?
6. Obama cuts out two white college roommates entirely.
A memoir was selective. Told the interesting parts/the parts that fit the template. That's not a tall tale. Obama's book isn't called "Everything About Me, So Far." It's called "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance." It openly advertises its limited theme.
7. Obama wrote about his high school friends as an alienated, ne'er-do-well "club of disaffection." In fact, most members of the "Choom Gang" were "decent students and athletes" who went on to successful careers.
Hello? Back in those days, being smart + alienated was the norm. Check out some books and movies from that era.
9. In his memoir, Obama mentions he missed out on playing time in high school basketball because he coach preferred players who "play like white boys do." In fact, Obama had to work hard just to make the team, and race had nothing to do with it.
The willful misunderstanding there is obvious to me, and I don't even know much about basketball and the styles of playing it. But here's the relevant passage from Obama's book. Obama's high school friend "Ray" is talking first:
“Well what? Listen, why don’t you get more playing time on the basketball team, huh? At least two guys ahead of you ain’t nothing, and you know it, and they know it. I seen you tear ’em up on the playground, no contest. Why wasn’t I starting on the football squad this season, no matter how many passes the other guy dropped? Tell me we wouldn’t be treated different if we was white. Or Japanese. Or Hawaiian. Or fucking Eskimo.”

“That’s not what I’m saying.”

“So what are you saying?”

“All right, here’s what I’m saying. I’m saying, yeah, it’s harder to get dates because there aren’t any black girls around here. But that don’t make the girls that are here all racist. Maybe they just want somebody that looks like their daddy, or their brother, or whatever, and we ain’t it. I’m saying yeah, I might not get the breaks on the team that some guys get, but they play like white boys do, and that’s the style the coach likes to play, and they’re winning the way they play. I don’t play that way.

“As for your greasy-mouthed self,” I added, reaching for the last of his fries, “I’m saying the coaches may not like you ’cause you’re a smart-assed black man, but it might help if you stopped eating all them fries you eat, making you look six months pregnant. That’s what I’m saying.” “Man, I don’t know why you making excuses for these folks.” Ray got up and crumpled his trash into a tight ball. “Let’s get out of here. Your shit’s getting way too complicated for me.”
In context, you can see that Obama is doing the opposite of racial grievance.

Okay, so I'm officially sick of the bullshit cherry-picking from the David Maraniss bio. I'm glad I finally have the original source to look at on my own. (And I know I'm also part of the problem because I rewarded BuzzFeed with a link. One can try to play the game of blogging in an abstemious, overly pure way, but I don't play that way.)

50 comments:

Ipso Fatso said...

Isn't Obama breaking up with someone who is white, sort like Obama breaking up with himself?

Scott said...

I don't like reading about people I don't like. It's just too depressing. (I dropped Robert Caro's "The Power Broker" two-thirds through the book because the author convinced me that Robert Moses was a deficient human being.)

But the whole issue of Obama's malignant narcissism is something that I'll have to get up to speed on. America created Obama; and what's wrong with him points to what's wrong with the country.

Please, somebody reassure me that reading Obama's autobio and the Maraniss bio isn't going to cause my soul to shrivel up like a cornflake.

Scott said...

@IpsoFatso: He's the self-hating Everyman.

Mark O said...

The word "story" in the title is the giveaway. It's like calling the Bible "The Greatest Story Ever Told." That's just another way of suggesting that it, like Obama's book, is made up, fiction, only a story.

Ann sounds a bit defensive about Mr. President this morning. You'd think she had voted for him or something.

Scott said...

The fact that the blogress voted for Obama has been flogged to death by the commentcenti on this blog. At this point, kicking that dead horse should be considered a cheap shot. Please stop.

Roger J. said...

Scott--agree with your point, however the rejoinder is that no horse is so dead it cant be flogged again :)

Scott said...

@Roger J: Using "flog" in the British sense of "to sell": If you flog a live horse, you're a horse trader. If you flog a dead horse, you're a sick fuck that should be institutionalized. Either that, or you're a French butcher. But suit yourself. :)

Jay said...

Oh shock, Obama doesn't really like white people!

I'm stunned by this.

Roger J. said...

Scott: well played sir35

Quayle said...

If the horse has been dead long enough, kicking it will cause your foot to break through the outer hide and implant in goo.

And let's face it, this Obama presidency has pretty much turned to goo.

Scott said...

@Joy: I can't believe that a politician would write in a book that he dumped friends because they were a particular race -- and that this would not be controversial.

Roger J. said...

Scott I might argue that it might be a belgian butcher, but I take your point.

Scott said...

@Roger J: I always do my best writing when I'm avoiding work. :)

DADvocate said...

You break up with someone who has a characteristic that troubles you, and then you find yourself drawn to someone else with the same characteristic.

You conflate the physical with the psychological.

"decent students and athletes" who went on to successful careers.Hello? Back in those days, being smart + alienated was the norm. Check out some books and movies from that era.

You ignore the athletes part. I've yet to meet an alienated decent high school athlete. And, I've yet to see the movie that accurately portrayed my high school experiences, or what I observed in high school, or what my kids experienced. More conflation, this time between reality and fantasy.

That said, I don't give a shit what the book says about Obama in high school, unless it proves him a murderer or a rapist. I care about what's going on now.

Jay said...

Scott said...

I can't believe that a politician would write in a book that he dumped friends because they were a particular race -- and that this would not be controversial.


If he said he dumped them because they were gay, would there be media silence?

Roger J. said...

My dear mary: obviously Canadian--who else would end her sentence with "eh"

Scott said...

@Jay: Hell no. But it's generally recognized that the dominant news media has a poorly articulated and inconsistent moral code. Just like the left generally.

Fen said...

How many frickin bios are we going to have on this Narcissist Affirmative Action Hire?

Roger J. said...

Again what Scott said--I think it was John Maynard Keynes who said, when the facts change I change my mind: what do you do, sir?

MadisonMan said...

I don't care to buy the book, but I'm curious.

What does 'in part because she was white' really mean with respect to the girlfriend break-up? Was he tired of being blinded by the glare from her pale skin when they walked in the Sun? Did some aspects of her culture make him uncomfortable? Did family pressures on either side that were related to race lead to the break-up?

I am suspicious of a phrase like that. What's the whole context of the break-up?

It piques my interest a little, but not enough to make we want to go buy the book. Maybe I'll reserve it at the library.

Pogo said...

The bio is 4 years too late, if knowing more about Obama would have altered your choice. But I doubt that lack of information was a factor.

I doubt any information would have risen above the rockstar din surrounding him by this time in 2008.

Now the bio is like those true crime paperbacks on serial killers. What was it that created this horror?

Meh. Every unhappy country is unhappy in its own way. That's why we picked Carter again; the first time was farce, the second, tragedy.

Mark O said...

Obama is an admitted racist. But, Mr. President is the right sort of racist, you know.

Roger J. said...

Miss Mary--I am not sure how you arrived at your conclusion, but I didnt pull the lever for Mr Obama the first time around, and certainly wont this time around.

Scott said...

Hello? Back in those days, being smart + alienated was the norm. Check out some books and movies from that era.

To DADvocate's point: Even if smart+alienated was the media norm, it doesn't make it the actual norm. If movies were normative, then everyone would carry a gun that would never run out of bullets, and the bad guys would never hit their targets.

"I don't give a shit what the book says about Obama in high school, unless it proves him a murderer or a rapist. I care about what's going on now."

@DADvocate: Obama's past informs us about what Obama is doing now. Even if all this is being discussed four years too late, we still need to discuss it, so that we don't get snowed again by the next slick-talking progressive whose troubled past is aggressively obscured by the media.

TomB said...

"they play like white boys do, and that’s the style the coach likes to play, and they’re winning the way they play. I don’t play that way."

He doesn't play to win?

Does the movie "White Men Can't Jump" pop into anyone else's mind here?

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jay said...

Fen said...

How many frickin bios are we going to have on this Narcissist Affirmative Action Hire?


Fen,
we have to have enough that you are forced to watch them all during Obama's 2nd term!

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hagar said...

So, Mr. Maraniss' book just shows that while nothing in Obama's "autobiographies" is exactly a big whopping lie, neither is anything exactly true?

Who would have guessed!

DADvocate said...

Obama's past informs us about what Obama is doing now...

THe over analysis of high school antics and misdeeds is absurd. Many of us did things in high school we regret and would never imagine doing again. Sure, we might gain some insight, but far too much weight is given this stuff. In Obama's case you don't have to go back nearly that far to find all sorts of hypocrisy, and other questionable and suspicious stuff.

EMD said...

BOH-RING.

MadisonMan said...

Only 11 copies in the libraries of South Central Wisconsin. I figure it'll come to me in about 8 weeks.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"they play like white boys do, and that’s the style the coach likes to play, and they’re winning the way they play. I don’t play that way."

You mean like a team player who wants to win and not like a self absorbed, self pitying hot shot wanna be ghetto rat who thinks that HE should be the star of the show? Like that?

Attitude counts and sometimes it counts more than skill when your attitude sucks and ruins the whole effort.

Since we seem to be able to know soooo much about Obama the Choom master, when will we get to hear somethings about Obama the community organizer, the college years, who paid for his schooling, his travels to Pockistan and a whole lot of other things that are more relevant.

On the other hand....I don't want to hear one more thing about the P.O.S. except that he is history.

edutcher said...

As most of us have better uses for our money these days than buying books about Little Zero when we pretty much know why we don't like him, it will be nice to hear from someone who will give us something other than the Reader's Digest version.

Scott said...

But the whole issue of Obama's malignant narcissism is something that I'll have to get up to speed on. America created Obama; and what's wrong with him points to what's wrong with the country

No, it just points to what's wrong with his family and all their Commie friends.

bagoh20 said...

Is Obama suggesting that he played like a black guy because his dad was black - that it's some kind of genetic thing. He was engulfed in whiteness his whole young life, so unless it's genetic, I don't know where he got it. I've seen him play. He plays like a white guy. It seems to me, he has always been mostly a white guy trying to be black for political purposes. It has worked his whole life.

dreams said...

I'm not going to buy a book about Obama. I'm sick of him and looking forward to the Romney landslide in Nov., I've always known that there is nothing there. He is just a socialist/communist like his mother though I think his mother was smarter.
I don't think Obama is very smart.

bagoh20 said...

Obama's description of his high school life and the Choom gang sounds identical to my own, except for the racial bullshit, which I think is made up. Kids just ignore that stuff mostly. It's there, you know it, but you just don't talk about it much. My hometown was 98% white, and I had Black friends. I don't remember race ever being brought up even once. Adults would say stuff like: "Oh he's that colored kid." Just for clarity to identify someone, but among us kids it was just that guy. I never heard anyone put down for being black.

We played playground basketball almost every single evening, and the black guys definitely had a different style of play, but it was the opposite of how Obama plays - at least what I saw of it.

dreams said...

"Ann sounds a bit defensive about Mr. President this morning. You'd think she had voted for him or something."

I guess its not a good feeling knowing you got duped and especially so publicly duped.

bagoh20 said...

As I read parts of Obama's book, I get more and more who he is, and where he came from. I can relate completely. He reminds me of myself. As a kid with a gift for impressing adults, we both saw the shortcuts, and took them. We had an easier time than our friends, good at test taking , absorbing stuff quickly and not needing to study much.

If I pursued an academic career that kept me out of the workforce and the struggles of making it on my own, I would never vote for me to run anything. I would expect to be just like him: lazy, deflecting responsibility, and narcissistic - still pretending to have what I never earned, and hoping people would fall for it.

Thank god I had my hat handed to me as a young man, and had to rebuild myself from scratch. To bad he didn't.

bagoh20 said...

"A black Eddie Haskell, you're suggesting then?"

Yea, there is a lot of that.

I used to get a hard time from my friends for saying things to their parents like: "Thanks for having me over, Mrs. Cleaver."

They would say "you are such an ass kisser.". I'd say, yea, but your parents would trust me with the car, and they wouldn't let you even sit in it." I was no more trust worthy than them. It was all just a front, a scam, easy to play, and well worth it, but I was the only one who could pull it off, because I was like that from the start.

Obama is like that, and we gave him the car keys.

Scott said...

Oh gawd, I'm laughing! Thanks Mary and bagoh20.

The blogress needs a new tag: "Obama is like Eddie Haskell."

President Eddie Haskell.

I'm feeling nauseous.

Rabel said...

Mary, dear,

If I might offer a suggestion from a conservative Southerner, who shares your distaste for the President, whould you please take your Black dialect shit and shove it up your ass.

Thank you for consideration.

bgates said...

In context, you can see that Obama is doing the opposite of racial grievance.

Ray: "Tell me we wouldn’t be treated different if we was white."

Barry: "That's not what I'm saying....I’m saying yeah, I might not get the breaks on the team that some guys get....I’m saying the coaches may not like you ’cause you’re a smart-assed black man...."

Last word goes to Ray: "Man, I don’t know why you making excuses for these folks."

In context, it's clear that Obama is rhetorically positioning himself as a mediator between the angry black boy* and the quite possibly racist white establishment. He's trying to appeal to older white women with more guilt than sense who worry that the overt black racial grievance-mongers are right, and crave reassurance from a well-spoken black man who understands that white women can be reluctant to date black guys without being racist.

* He says "black girls", "girls", "white boys", and "black man". I don't.

Jane said...

Off-topic, yet related: Obama's biography, his self-reinvention, and America's embrace of the man as he created himself, says something about our culture.

The "DREAM" amnesty also says something about American culture. For most of us (and maybe 100% of the Ann Althouse commentariat), our ancestors uprooted themselves from the only home they ever knew to come to the United States. Yet the very premise of the DREAM amnesty is that it's a cruel punishment to ask someone living in the U.S. to resettle in another country. What happened?

Michael K said...

" we still need to discuss it, so that we don't get snowed again by the next slick-talking progressive whose troubled past is aggressively obscured by the media."

My daughter, an Obama voter, gave me the other book in 2008. I would rather have read "Dreams.." as I think it was more revealing but I didn't get motivated to actually buy it. I retaliated this year by giving her "Amateur" for her birthday. I doubt Marannis' book will reveal much but hero worship by the author. His Clinton books were not very revealing.

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EMD said...

I've seen Obama throw a baseball and shoot hoops.

He plays like the half-white guy he is.

MadisonMan said...

I'm feeling nauseous.

Nauseous means you cause nausea.

You mean nauseated.

I know you can find definitions online that say nauseous means affected with nausea, but why be imprecise?

(Sorry, pet peeve -- one of many :) )

whoresoftheinternet said...

And here we go. Althouse going to bat for her precious, precious defecation-in-chief, and supporting his re-election BAMN.

And you fools believe she is "open-minded." You should be sold a bridge.

Scott said...

@MadisonMan: I stand corrected.

In orthopedic shoes.

:)